Going Pro....or not.

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Alpha, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    So. This is partly a rant and partly a question.

    Been looking around for a pro in the area to assist/second shoot. Most of them are really no good. There are a few, though, who do really nice work. So I contacted everyone whose work I like enough to want to assist. I get more or less the same response from all of them: "We really like your work. But you'd have to have your own dSLR setup." Fair, I suppose. But on the other hand it raises two questions for me. One is, if I had $10k to drop on a good body or two, good glass, and more strobes than I have now, would I really be asking to assist? The other is, if all I had was a Rebel XTI and a 50mm plastic fantastic, would you really want me shooting your projects with my sub-par equipment? Bear in mind, these are people with studios, plenty of bookings, and of course multiple backup bodies. So if you if you really like my work and have an extra body or two lying around then where does the problem lie? This puts me in a rather obnoxious state of limbo. What if I just wanted to assist in the studio, or help schlep your stuff around on-location? Does not having a pro-level digital rig bar me from that as well? In theory, it would be possible for me to save money for quite some time or take out a loan to buy a setup, but if I did that you can bet your britches I'd be out carrying my own weight and competing with others for business. So what's a relatively broke, recent college grad to do?
     
  2. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So ask yourself why do you want to be somebody's butt-boy in the first place? Have you guts? You talk the talk, but unless you can walk the walk, you've wasted an education. IMO.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think it is fair for them to expect you to have your own kit if they are single working pros (ie not a company which would probably be able to load out stock kit). As for the costs - best ask them what they think - a rebel with a good bit of glass can (in the right hands of course) get some impressive results.

    Also - you say if you had the money for a full set of kit that you would not be wanting to assist to get experience - I don't get why though. Unless you live by the maxim that you won't upgrade you kit till you think your skills are good enough to warrent it then most people aim as high as they can with getting kit. Further there is a wolrd of difference with being good with a camera and being a good pro with a camera - working under set conditions to time and budget limitations is something that working as an assistant/understudy can give you and help you to avoid pitfalls.
     
  4. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    I could understand a pro wanting an assistant with a decent DLSR (not a d40 or rebel xt) as well as some decent glass and an off camera flash but why would they want you to have a a lighting set up as well, or did I misread your post? Seems ridiculous to me. If they like you work why not let you use your current equiptment to assit, most likely you'll just be lugging around equiptment and holding reflectors all day anyway so what does your equiptment matter.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I got the impression that they were only after the camera, flash and lens - not a full light setup - but that once alpha had saved/begged and load enough to get the first bit of kit that the remainder was only a small (comparativly speaking) increase from that
     
  6. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    If I had a lot of money I would spend it on a digital MF rig...probably a Mamiya AFD + digi back. I have no need for a lot of the features that dSLR's afford. At least not right now. Truth be told I really don't want a dSLR. I rarely have a need to autofocus, shoot multiple fps, auto-bracket, etc. My money would largely be wasted on the features of a dSLR. If I went pro I wouldn't want to be shooting weddings all the time and campy family photos. I'm far more interested in beauty and editorial fashion. Which begs the question...why would I be interested in side shooting with someone who does work that I don't want to do professionally? Because not all of it is. Some more practice in a proper studio would be nice. So would spending time with people who have on-location lighting really nailed. And aside from the fact that I've taught Photoshop "professionally," some pro-level portfolio work under my belt would be nice aside from my personal projects.

    Maybe I'm just self-excluding. But I figure there's a lot to be gotten without the digi rig.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Very true alpha - digital is very nice and easier to pick up than film - as well as cheaper on the old developing, so I can see why many pros are both using and encouraging its use (it also lets them keep a real time eye on what you are taking - with film they just don't know till after developing.
    Have you tried finding an older photographer to follow - they might be more accepting of one wanting to use film as they might have once being film users themselves
     
  8. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Thought about it. May give it some more thought.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    more thought to following another or more thought on going digital?
     
  10. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Following another. My quasi-mentor shoots exquisite LF portraiture. Which could be fun. The only time I ever tried to show her my work she gave me this very minimalist..."I like what you've done here" and I was thinking "but what am I doing wrong!!"
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well go for it - if you already have good contact with her then try - nothing to really lose.
     
  12. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My question is why in the world would a studio and wedding photographer want to hand over $2-5k to some unfamiliar noob who wants to tag along for free. I know that sounds harsh but to them that is what you are. I have shot weddings for 2 different places both were paid gigs and both places I worked for long term and both places required that I have a full professional setup and a full array of backup gear before I was even considered. The only place that even had the possibility of their own gear to use was the one studio I worked for and only their full time photographers used that. I do not think this should come as some kind of shock if you are serious about wanting to do this you should be prepared to buy the gear yo uneed to do the job. Both times it was necesarry to buy gear, when I first started and when I made he transition to digital I borrowed the money I needed to get the gear and I got it. This may sound extreme borrowing and spending $5k+ for photography gear but I am serious about being a professional photographer and not some amatuer dabbling into getting paid for my hobby and I understand that noone is going to hand me the gear that I need to do this.
     

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